The Failure of NAFTA

The idea of NAFTA came with many promises of uniting the US, Mexico and Canada into one trading market that would facilitate faster development of their independent economies through free trade. To some level, NAFTA has achieved it purpose. For instance, the former president of Mexico, Carlos Salinas promised Mexicans that they would increase their export of goods through this freed trade organization among the three nations and thus increase their revenue (Malkin, 2009). This indeed happened with the introduction of NAFTA as Mexico experienced a boom in their exports of up to $292 billion in 2008, which was five times the revenue earlier received from exports. However, the country also saw a rapid increase in exports, in terms of people who have left the country to look for greener pastures abroad (Malkin, 2009).

The intended purpose of NAFTA was theorized but is less practical in the economic sector and is much of a bad business idea. Due to NAFTA, the US and Mexico experienced a rapid increase in the exportation of people seeking jobs. This has greatly led to losing of jobs by the US to Mexico and a rapid increase of immigrants into the US who are seeking jobs (Hufbauer, 2005). This is not good to the economy, as it has lowered the living standards of the local citizens who are left without jobs due to the cheaper labour provided with by foreign workers.

Another area that has greatly failed involves the domestic industries. These industries have been greatly dismantled as they no longer supply multinationals. These multinationals import parts and raw materials from their own suppliers in their country of origin, leaving the local industries limited in terms of their market scope (Hufbauer, 2005). In addition, due to the tariff-free imported food, local farmers in the three nations have been priced out and forced to leave the market. In Mexico, most farmers have abandoned their farms and gone to Canada and the US to look for employment.


  • Hufbauer, G. C. (2005). NAFTA Revisited: Achievements and Challenges. Washington DC: Peterson Institute .
  • Malkin, E. (2009, March 23). Nafta’s Promise, Unfulfilled. Retrieved from The New York Times:
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